Slow Computer? Is It A Virus Or Something Else?

As the world becomes more familiar with computers, some of the risks associated with computer use become confusing. If a computer isn't working properly, a computer repair shop can expect to hear anything from "it's broken!" to "I don't know; it's a virus" when someone comes for help. Unfortunately, not having an idea of the problem could put you at the mercy of some of the more aggressive repair technicians out there. Take the time to understand computer viruses, their impact and other possible causes to at least understand what a technician needs to go through--and whether you'd be willing to pay their rates.

What Is A Virus?

A virus is one of a few different categories of malicious software or malware. The term virus for computers refers to a specific type of code that copies itself to a computer, performs its task and is able to copy itself to other computers. The term is used for many other, completely different forms of malware, but understand that a technician will approach the situation assuming that any type of malware could be the cause.

Malware categories perform their tasks in many different ways and have an infinite number of reasons for being written. Some viruses are written with criminal intent; someone wants to steal information, such as trade secrets, financial information or personal information. Other viruses are written purely to be a nuisance, as some talented programmers simply want to cause chaos or amuse themselves with what could be done.

There are even viruses that specifically avoid causing significant damage. Some programmers seeking exposure for their project may create a self-installing version of their software and simply send it out to the Internet, hoping that some unwitting user will simply keep and use the software because of its features.

What Isn't A Virus?

The last part gets into a gray area of Potentially Unwanted Programs or PUPs. PUPs are pieces of software that are completely legitimate, but could have been installed by accident. Some programs include check boxes to install extra programs as a part of a referral program or simple advertisement, which some users may ignore as they install.

These extra programs can still cause a problem. Although they can usually be closed like any other program, they may open up when the computer starts or at inopportune times. This can take up additional resources on your computer and may make performance slower.

Viruses are usually far more difficult to remove than PUPs, but you need to know which problem you have in order to be safe around computer repair shops. Although many computer repair technicians are honest, a user that doesn't know about PUPs may end up paying exorbitant fees to have a basic program removed under the false assumption that there's a virus. 

To make matters more confusing, virus removal programs may not explicitly show that the problematic programs are PUPs. If you're not an experienced technician (or didn't have the chance to read this article), the acronym PUP would mean nothing in the face of dangerous, red letters saying that there's a problem.

Once you have an idea of your problem, contact a virus removal professional to get a second opinion. A skilled technician still may be able to find something that you can't, but be prepared to ask the hard questions to make sure you're getting your money's worth.
For professional virus removal, contact a company such as Microworx